Back to Back Issues Page
Insider Arthritis Tips November 2014
November 15, 2014

Untitled 1

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away. William Shakespeare

Untitled 7

Blood Test Could Predict Rheumatoid Arthritis
Petra Maria Longewag writing in the Maine News reported new research suggests, a simple blood test may soon help doctors identify a debilitating form of arthritis, much before the emergence of any symptoms, helping stop the disease from progressing further. According to the study, elevated inflammatory proteins called cytokines levels in the blood warn of impending rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

The new study reports elevated levels of certain markers of inflammation i. e. cytokines and related factors can be detected in the blood stream, long before the development of rheumatoid arthritis or symptoms of the disease emerge.
Solbritt Rantapää-Dahlqvist, MD., one of the researchers in a news release said these findings offer an opportunity for predicting the risk of developing RA, and perhaps, even preventing disease progression.

Research Suggests TZDs And Sulfonylureas Both Increase Risk For Fractures Compared With Metformin.
Miriam writing in Medscape reported that research suggests that “the oral diabetes drug classes of thiazolidinediones (TZDs) and sulfonylureas both boost the risk for fractures compared with metformin.” This research “confirms previous findings of increased fracture risk with TZDs but is the first to compare multiple classes of glucose-lowering agents and the first to suggest a possible increased fracture risk for sulfonylureas, Sandhya Mehta, PhD...told the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 2014 Scientific Sessions.”

Mortality reduced in RA patients who maintained methotrexate therapy
Reported in Helio, an article published in Clinical and experimental rheumatology, researchers in Germany analyzed data on 271 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA; disease duration, 8.5 years) who had started methotrexate (MTX) treatment between 1980 and 1987. Modified American College of Rheumatology 20 (ACR20) response was used to measure response to MTX treatment 1 year after baseline. Follow-up data were available for 250 patients (mean age, 57.5 years; 78.4% women) up to 18 years.

Of those patients, 66% had a ≥20% response rate at 1 year (responders), 20% were considered nonresponders, and 14% had stopped MTX treatment because of lack of efficacy or adverse events including nausea, vomiting or stomatitis. Sixty-one percent of patients maintained MTX treatment at 10 years after baseline.
Responders had a 1.6 mortality ratio compared with a 3.2 ratio among nonresponders after 18 years.

RA Patients Show Relationship Between Inflammation And Carotid Artery Disease
Nancy Walsh writing in Medpage Today reported, “Among patients with rheumatoid arthritis, rapid progression of thickening of the wall of the carotid arteries was associated with systemic inflammation and the presence of multiple cardiovascular risk factors,” according to a study published online in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. Such a link had been suggested in other studies, so a new study of 487 patients was conducted using “high-resolution carotid ultrasounds at baseline and 3 years later.” Overall, “factors associated with progression of carotid artery disease included baseline carotid artery thickening, ESR of 55 mg/hour or higher, and the presence of four or more CV risk factors.”

Men at higher risk after joint replacement
Patrice Wendling writing in Rheumatology News reported that a Canadian study from the University of Toronto indicated that men were more likely to suffer from complications after joint replacement than women. Complications included heart attack, infection, and revision surgery. The increased risk was particularly severe following total knee replacement. Findings were presented at the World Congress on Osteoarthritis.

OA Walking Disability Increases Cardiovascular Risk
Patrice Wendling writing in Rheumatology News reported that walking disability is an independent predictor of death from cardiovascular events/. Also, total joint replacement reduced that risk by 40% according to a Canadian study from the University of Toronto and presented at the World Congress on Osteoarthritis.

Study: Rheumatologists Give Inconsistent Smoking Cession Advice
Nicola Garrett writing for Rheumatology Update reported a study found that “two out of three rheumatologist give smoking cessation advice to their patients,” with physicians who smoked less likely to offer the advice. However, “brief advice given by a doctor could increase quit rates by 66%, and when the intervention is more intensive the estimated effect was 88%.” Meanwhile, “only 1 in 5 rheumatology departments had either a specific protocol or written advice for smoking cessation.” The authors called for recognizing tobacco dependence is a disease often requiring repeated interventions and “clear, strong and personalized advice” for patients.

Gender May Impact Perception Of Pain Following Surgery
Agata Blaszczak-Boxe writing for CBS News reports that a new study presented at this year’s Euroanaesthesia meeting in Stockholm has determined that men “were 27 percent more likely to report higher pain ratings after a major surgery such as a knee replacement, while women were 34 percent more likely to report experiencing more pain after procedures that the researchers labeled as minor, such as biopsies.” Researchers interviewed 10,200 patients from the University Hospitals of the Ruhr University of Bochum, Germany, following an operation, over the course of more than four years. Although the researchers are uncertain of the cause for these differences, “they speculate that a lot may depend on the kind of surgery a person is undergoing,” with procedures such as cancer-related biopsies taking “a particularly serious emotional toll on women.”

Medical Marijuana May Be Effective Treatment For Autoimmune Diseases
Thomas Carannante writing in Science World Report revealed that “researchers at the University of South Carolina” have “conducted a study” in mice “that analyzed the effects of THC in marijuana on patients with autoimmune diseases because the drug has previously shown to have an immunomodulatory activity.” In this study's case, the researchers found that the application of marijuana has the ability to suppress an immune response to treat autoimmune diseases, such as arthritis, lupus, colitis, multiple sclerosis, and others. The new findings are published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Elderly Women Who Take Bisphosphonates Long-Term May Have Increased Risk Of Atypical Femur Shaft Fractures
Nicola Garrett writing in Rheumatology Update reported that research published in Osteoporosis International indicated that “elderly women who take bisphosphonates long-term have an increased risk of atypical femur shaft fractures...but the overall benefits of treatment still outweigh the risks.” Researchers “found that each additional year of bisphosphonate treatment showed a progressive increase in subtrochanteric/femoral shaft fractures.”

Untitled 2

Ring in the holiday... with Joint Food

Don’t let your joint pain affect your holiday plans! Joint Food is the purest preparation of glucosamine and chondroitin available. Studies show that people who take pure forms of glucosamine and chondroitin experience pain relief and improvement in joint function.

Joint Food is based on the German formula and is available in Europe today—only by prescription.

The effectiveness of glucosamine and chondroitin products, used as a treatment for osteoarthritis, is proven. You may need to take the supplements for at least two months before noticing marked improvement. There are no side effects… no drug interactions… and you may even be able to reduce your dose of NSAIDs.

Glucosamine supplements do not interfere with any NSAIDs, aspirin, Tylenol, or other
anti-inflammatory or analgesic medicines and continued use of the supplements will not
lead to progressive joint destruction, GI upset or bleeding, or strain on the liver and kidneys.

Experience improved joint function and pain relief by taking Joint Food.

Purchase a two month supply for $71.
Save $20 “Makes A Great Stocking Stuffer”

You can join the auto-ship club and save even more! Plus, it’s delivered right to your door with no additional shipping fees. Call our product specialist at 301-694-5800 for more information.

Untitled 3

Crunchy high-fiber apricot and apple bars

Nutrition for Life


  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 2 apples
  • 4floz (120ml) apple juice
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup soft brown sugar
  • 1 2/3 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups oats


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly oil a shallow baking pan measuring 13” by 9” (32 by 22cm).
  • Chop the apricots, and peel, core, and finely chop the apples. Place in a pan with the apple juice and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Let the mixture cool slightly, then blend in a food processor until smooth.
  • In a bowl, beat together the margarine and sugar until creamy, then fold in the flour and oats.
  • Spread half of the flour and oat mixture over the baking pan. Spoon the apricot and apple mixture on top and spread evenly. Cover with the remaining flour mixture and press down lightly.
  • Bake for 30 minutes until light golden. Cut into 16 bars while in the tray, and let cool before removing. Store in an airtight container.

Untitled 4

Remarkable Uses for Oven Cleaner

Seven unbelievable uses for oven cleaner.

from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Put the style back in your curling iron – Is your curling iron buried under a layer of caked-on styling gel or conditioner? Before the next time you use it, spray on a light coating of oven cleaner. Let it sit for one hour, then wipe it off with a damp rag, and dry with a clean cloth. Warning: Do not use iron until it is thoroughly dry.

Wipe away bathtub ring – Got a stubborn stain or ring around your white porcelain tub that refuses to come clean? Call out the big guns by spraying it with oven cleaner. Let it sit for a few hours, then give it a thorough rinsing. Warning: Do not apply oven cleaner to colored porcelain tubs; it could cause fading. And be careful not to get the oven cleaner on your shower curtain; it can ruin both plastic and fabric.

Clean grimy tile grout lines – Ready for an all-out attack on grout grunge? First, make sure you have plenty of ventilation — it’s a good idea to use your exhaust fan to suck air out of a small bathroom. Put on your rubber gloves and spray oven cleaner into the grout lines. Wipe the cleaner off with a sponge within five seconds. Rinse thoroughly with water to reveal sparkling grout lines.

Clean ovenproof glass cookware – You’ve tried everything to scrub those baked-on stains off your glass cookware. Now try this: Put on rubber gloves and cover the cookware with oven cleaner. Then place the cookware in a heavy-duty garbage bag, close it tightly with twist ties, and leave overnight. Open the bag outdoors, keeping your face away from the dangerous fumes. Use rubber gloves to remove and wash the cookware.

Clean a cast-iron pot – If you need to clean and re-season that encrusted secondhand cast-iron skillet you found at a yard sale, start by giving it a good spraying with oven cleaner and placing it in a sealed plastic bag overnight. (This keeps the cleaner working by preventing it from drying.) The next day, remove the pot and scrub it with a stiff wire brush. Then, wash it thoroughly with soap and water, rinse well, and immediately dry it with a couple of clean, dry cloths. Note: This technique eliminates built-up gunk and grease, but not rust. For that, you’ll need to use vinegar. Don’t leave it on too long, though. Prolonged exposure to vinegar can damage your cast-iron utensil.

Remove stains from concrete – Get those unsightly grease, oil, and transmission fluid stains off your concrete driveway or garage floor. Spray them with oven cleaner. Let it settle for 5-10 minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush and rinse it off with your garden hose at its highest pressure. Severe stains may require a second application.

Strip paint or varnish – For an easy way to remove paint or varnish from wooden or metal furniture, try using a can of oven cleaner; it costs less than commercial paint strippers and is easier to apply (that is, if you spray rather than brush it on). After applying, scrub off the old paint with a wire brush. Neutralize the stripped surface by coating it with vinegar, and then wash it off with clean water. Allow the wood or metal to thoroughly dry before repainting. Don’t use oven cleaner to strip antiques or expensive furnishings; it can darken the wood or discolor the metal.


Untitled 5

Watch the sugar!

Healthy Living-Summer 2014

The USDA recommends that people consume no more than 10 teaspoons of added sugar (160 calories) per day in a 2,000 calorie per day diet. Since it can be tricky to determine just how much added sugar you are consuming, keep the following in mind the next time you go food shopping:

  1. Be aware that sugar goes by many names, including syrup, corn sweetener, molasses and anything that ends in “ose” –such as maltose, sucrose and fructose.
  2. Ingredients in packaged foods are shown in descending order by weight; the higher up a form of sugar is listed, the more the product contains.
  3. You can also check a product’s Nutrition Facts Panel to figure out the number of grams of sugar per serving; since each gram of sugar contains 4 calories, multiplying the number of grams by 4 will give you the number of calories from sugar in the item.

Wei's World, November 2014

Untitled 6

(This is excerpted from my blog post on Medscape Rheumatology)

It's no secret that people wager a lot of money on sports outcomes and base their decision making on what "the line" is.

My wife and I recently attended a wedding in Utah. It was the first Mormon wedding we had ever been to and it was beautiful, performed against the backdrop of the Zion National Park.

If you’ve never been there, it is an amazing place with breathtaking scenery against a backdrop of colorful mesas. It truly is, as one patient remarked to me, a spiritual place.

We then spent a day in Las Vegas, since that was the closest major airport, and we had an early flight home to Washington, so staying in "Sin City" made more sense than driving to Las Vegas from Zion at 1AM.

I knew I “wasn’t in Kansas” anymore when I got off the plane and there was a 400 pound man sitting at a slot machine at the arrival gate.

I was stunned.

If medicine is to make progress in preventative health, it will require a Herculean effort.

As physicians, we are competing with human nature.
During our brief stay in Las Vegas, I saw more obese people at slot machines chowing down on junk food and smoking than I could ever imagine. Not to mention all the other excesses and assault on my senses. The flashing lights, loud noises, cigarette smoke, and traffic all combined to cause sensory overload.

Now, I know many people like Las Vegas. I'm just not one of them. Frankly, I found it disheartening since many of the conditions we treat are self-inflicted ones. And this experience brought it home to me.
This episode also illustrates why the mandated school lunch program with fruits and vegetables is a dismal failure. How do you change human nature?
And where do we draw "the line" on personal responsibility?

When I tell a patient they need to make adjustments in their life style and they don’t listen and suffer a bad health outcome, I still feel culpable. Yet I know that I can’t make them do healthier things. I can only recommend it to them.

Back to Back Issues Page